In post-WWII America, President Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, establishing the interstate highway system. The construction of roadways led to the destruction of many historic sites. In an effort to rejuvenate cities across the country, the Urban Renewal Program was initiated by President John F. Kennedy. As part of this program, urban planners and developers demolished buildings in disrepair, particularly in areas that were heavily populated by low-income residents. This was to allow for the post-war population boom and the rapid manufacturing of cars. This practice wiped out entire neighborhoods and sections of many urban areas, erasing the physical evidence of entire periods of history. To counter this movement, a committee was convened in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson. The committee’s 1966 report With Heritage So Rich identified only half of the previously recorded 12,000 historic buildings in the United States remained intact. Based on these findings, Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
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